Asian Art
Artist: Okuhara Seiko, Japanese, 1837–1913

Lotuses

ca. 1873

Hanging scroll, ink on paper

without mounting: 53 7/16 x 18 9/16 in. (135.8 x 47.2 cm) with mounting: 81 1/2 x 25 1/2 in. (207.01 x 64.8 cm) with rollers: 29 1/8 in. (74 cm)
Purchased with the Ann and Gilbert H., B.A. 1953, M.A. 1954, Kinney Fund
2003.105.2
A revolutionary feminist artist in the early modern period in Japan—known for cutting her hair short and wearing men’s clothing—Okuhara Seiko paved the way for twentieth-century Japanese female artists. Seiko founded a private school and was one of few female instructors of Chinese poetry, calligraphy, and literati painting during a chaotic period in Japanese history. Beginning in 1865, she lived near the Shinobazu Pond at Ueno Park, in downtown Edo (Tokyo); the lotuses depicted on this hanging scroll may have been inspired by the pond. Skilled at manipulating the brush to create lines of different weights and thicknesses, Seiko used tonal gradations in the ink to capture the flowers’ different stages of maturity—from tightly closed bud to full bloom—along with their stems and leaves.
Culture: 
Japanese
Period: 
Meiji period (1868–1912)
Classification: 
Paintings
Geography: 
Japan
Status: 
Not on view
Provenance: 

The Robert O. Muller Collection

Bibliography: 

Ryohei Inamura, ed., Okuhara Seiko: denki Okuhara Seiko (Tokyo: Ozorasha, 1995).

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.